A pebble is a clast of rock with a particle size of 4 to 64 millimetres based on the Krumbein phi scale of sedimentology. Pebbles are generally considered to be larger than granules (2 to 4 millimetres diameter) and smaller than cobbles (64 to 256 millimetres diameter). A rock made predominantly of pebbles is termed a conglomerate. Pebble tools are among the earliest known man-made artifacts, dating from the Palaeolithic period of human history.
A beach composed chiefly of surface pebbles is commonly termed a shingle beach. This type of beach has armoring characteristics with respect to wave erosion, as well as ecological niches which can provide habitat for animals and plants.
Pebbles come in various colors and textures, and can have streaks of quartz and different colored sedimentary rock. Pebbles are mostly smooth but, dependent on how frequently they come in contact with the sea, they can have marks of contact with other rocks or pebbles. Pebbles left above the high water mark, may have the growth of organisms such as lichen on them, signifying the lack of contact with sea water.
Pebbles can also be found inland where ancient seas used to be covering the land, when seas retreat the rocks become landlocked. Pebbles can also form in rivers, and travel into estuaries where the smoothing continues in the sea.
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